[openstack-ansible] [kolla-ansible] Which deployment tool for first timer?

Jonathan Rosser jonathan.rosser at rd.bbc.co.uk
Thu Jun 9 15:34:40 UTC 2022

Hi Dave,

I have been hesitating to reply to your mailing list post because it 
doesn't feel right to pitch two community tools against each other here 
on the mailing list - so i won't do that here.

I would say that the deployment tool is a means to an end. So you should 
look at the technology choices, upgrade paths, support for "day 2 
operations", how bugs get addressed, documentation, operator experience 
etc etc. Only you can decide which is appropriate for the constraints 
and requirements of your deployment.

My reply will obviously be biassed, as I am a big contributor to 
openstack-ansible. My observation is that the operators that gain the 
most out of any of these tools are the ones who engage with the 
community around those tools, primarily in the case of openstack-ansible 
that would be through our IRC channel, weekly meetings and bug reports 
on Launchpad. You will gain insight and be able to leverage the 
knowledge of other operators who in some cases have literally written 
the book on various aspects of OpenStack. Trying to fight though every 
decision or problem on your own is the worst way to approach using any 
of these community driven tools.

If you instead want a more "shrink wrap" approach to an installer, or 
more formal support, then it would be wise to look at the product 
oriented offerings from the large vendors.

Both openstack-ansible and kolla-ansible will expect you to make a good 
number of decisions about the specifics of your deployment, for example 
storage, networking and security concerns. Both would also expect you to 
gain sufficient knowledge about how OpenStack itself works to be able to 
make good use of the customization opportunities that both provide. This 
is really the unique selling point of the community tooling, you get a 
very high degree of customization potential but that can come at the 
cost of some complexity.

As you are already using openstack-ansible I would suggest that you 
continue, but as I've already said I have an existing interest here and 
I really don't want to start a tooling debate. Join us in IRC in 
#openstack-ansible and discuss any pain points you have. This way we can 
hopefully help you out, or address specific issues in the code - you may 
have discovered legitimate bugs or a use case that is not 
straightforward to fulfill. This is how all of the community tools get 
improved and evolved over time.

On one specific point I would recommend that you move entirely to Debian 
11 as Xena will be the last release that openstack-ansible supports Buster.

I'm not sure there is a fool-proof installer really. Installing the code 
is one thing, being effective though upgrades and applying bugfixes to a 
production environment is a different and a more important concern in 
the long term. Both openstack-ansible and kolla-ansible offer 
"all-in-one" deployments which are intended as "should-just-work" 
demonstrators of how things fit together and for lightweight testing. 
Scaling those out to larger deployments is where the real work is, and 
neither tool sets out to be particularly prescriptive about some parts 
of how you build your environment.

Hopefully this is helpful,

On 09/06/2022 15:58, Dave Hall wrote:
> Hello,
> My question is about OpenStack-Ansible vs. Kolla-Ansible. While I am 
> sensitive to the effort that has been put into both of these projects, 
> what I really need right now is the most fool-proof way to deploy and 
> manage a small production cluster for academic instructional use.
> (BTW, I do understand that there are other differences between Kolla 
> and regular openstack.)
> I have been working for a couple months with OpenStack-Ansible to 
> deploy a small (3-node) Xena test cluster on VirtualBox VMs in 
> preparation for a larger deployment on real hardware - 6 to 10 nodes.  
> My VirtualBox deployment has been:
>     Debian 11 deployment, Debian 10 infra, compute, and storage nodes
> It has been slow going, at least partially due to some issues and 
> limitations with VirtualBox (and Vagrant early on).  However, 
> deploying a test cluster on VMs still seems preferable to just 
> diving into deployment on real hardware and going through multiple 
> scrubs/reinstalls.
> I've recently seen more posts in the list about Kolla-Ansible. So, as 
> a 'beginner', should I shift and look at Kolla-Ansible, or should I 
> stay the course and continue with Openstack-Ansible? What are the pros 
> and cons of each?
> For that matter, is there some other deployment mechanism that would 
> be more fool-proof for a first-timer?  Although I'm more familiar with 
> Ansible than the other tools (Chef, Puppet, etc.) I'm most interested 
> in how to get a cluster up and running regardless of the underlying tools.
> Thanks.
> -Dave
> --
> Dave Hall
> Binghamton University
> kdhall at binghamton.edu
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